His very heart athirst
by Felicia Dorothea Hemans
To gaze at nature in her green array,
Upon the ship's tall side he stands, possess'd
With visions prompted by intense desire;
Fair fields appear below, such as he left
Far distant, such as he would die to find:
He seeks them headlong, and is seen no more. ~ Cowper
The hollow dash of waves!–the ceaseless roar!
Silence, ye billows! vex my soul no more.
There's a spring in the woods by my sunny home,
Afar from the dark sea's tossing foam;
Oh! the fall of that fountain is sweet to hear,
As a song from the shore to the sailor's ear!
And the sparkle which up to the sun it throws,
Thro' the feathery fern and the olive boughs,
And the gleam on its path as it steals away
Into deeper shades from the sultry day,
And the large water-lilies that o'er its bed
Their pearly leaves to the soft light spread,
They haunt me! I dream of that bright spring's flow,
I thirst for its rills, like a wounded roe!
Be still, thou sea-bird, with thy clanging cry!
My spirit sickens, as thy wing sweeps by.
Know ye my home, with the lulling sound
Of leaves from the lime and the chestnut round?
Know ye it, brethren! where bower'd it lies,
Under the purple of southern skies?
With the streamy gold of the sun that shines
In thro' the cloud of its clustering vines,
And the summer-breath of the myrtle-flowers,
Borne from the mountain in dewy hours,
And the fire-fly's glance thro' the dark'ning shades,
Like shooting stars in the forest-glades,
And the scent of the citron at eve's dim fall
Speak! have ye known, have ye felt them all?
The heavy rolling surge! the rocking mast!
Hush! give my dream's deep music way, thou blast!
Oh! the glad sounds of the joyous earth!
The notes of the singing cicala's mirth,
The murmurs that live in the mountain pines,
The sighing of reeds as the day declines,
The wings flitting home thro' the crimson glow
That steeps the wood when the sun is low,
The voice of the night-bird that sends a thrill
To the heart of the leaves when the winds are still
I hear them! round me they rise, they swell,
They call back my spirit with Hope to dwell,
They come with a breath from the fresh spring-time,
And waken my youth in its hour of prime.
The white foam dashes high away, away!
Shroud my green land no more, thou blinding spray!
It is there! down the mountains I see the sweep
Of the chestnut forests, the rich and deep,
With the burden and glory of flowers that they bear,
Floating upborne on the blue summer-air,
And the light pouring thro' them in tender gleams,
And the flashing forth of a thousand streams!
Hold me not, brethren! I go, I go,
To the hills of my youth, where the myrtles blow,
To the depths of the woods, where the shadows rest,
Massy and still, on the greensward's breast,
To the rocks that resound with the water's play
I hear the sweet laugh of my fount give way!
Give way! the booming surge, the tempest's roar,
The sea-bird's wail, shall vex my soul no more.